The move from Nova to Dillard High School was
a compromise after a long battle between
Nova Performing Arts supporters, and the Broward
County Schools administration. The excellent
track record and the future development and
direction for a professional training Performing
Arts High School had been established except
for one big mistake.
Nova Performing Arts had dared raise its achievement
and expectations above mediocrity. In the public
school system then as well as now, with very
few exceptions, reaching the level of 'better'
or 'special' or even 'different' attracts many
enemies. Actually, this was a problem for the
Nova schools in general.
Of course an area of training specializing in
the Performing Arts marks its achievement with
an audience and in glaring lights so the enemies
made their presence known. The staff and inner
circle of parents and friends felt without a
doubt that the success had been too visible
(shows at the professional theatre Parker Playhouse
with revues and supportive articles in the major
newspapers of the Fort Lauderdale and Miami
area). In slang terms, some thought they were
too big for their britches.
The attempt to close the program at Nova had
failed and a compromise was made to move the
program to Dillard High School as a magnet school.
This was during the height of forced integration
and Dillard had a primarily black enrollment.
Putting an 'attractive' program at this location
and allowing students from the entire county
school system to 'choose' to attend would advance
the cause of integration without conflict from
Part of the deal was a new Performing Arts
building on the Dillard site. It was a remarkable
day at the Dillard campus when the performing
arts representatives from the parents association
and the school board representatives headed
by the boisterous William Dandy met for a tour.
Waving his arm he gestured to a large area to
the south and east of the main campus saying
"that is where the new building and theatre
will go." This sounded workable, so Joyce,
Allen and Tom were moved to Dillard to create
the new Broward County Performing Arts training
program. The move and ultimately the program
itself had many problems along the way. The
first of which was a delay in starting.
The first quarter of the following year, performing
arts construction had not even begun and there
was no place for the program, so Joyce and Allen
spent the time looking at each other in a small
cubicle in the administration building of the
Dillard campus. Boy, was that fun :-( Upon the
completion of a new cafeteria for the Dillard
campus (about mid way into the school year),
the Performing Arts program was assigned to
the old cafeteria and a starting date was planned.
Starting in the middle of the year, the first
day was quite a site. Later it became clear
that 'some' of the 'powers that be' fully expected
the program to fail and finally, be out of their
hair. But that didn't happen. Around 30 kids
climbed off that first bus (10 to 20 others
drove) with their tap shoes and tights and exploding
spirit. The collection of 'suits' that had assembled
to watch was literally open-mouthed.
In spite of delays and
far from adequate facilities, the staff
and students didn't bat an eye but launched
their intensive program of training in
acting, singing and dance, and began plans
for their first show - at Parker Playhouse!
Taking the title from the musical Chicago
(shortly after the opening of its first
run on Broadway), the first show for the
new BCPA (Broward County Performing Arts)
was "Performing Arts and All That
Jazz" at Parker Playhouse in 1976.
After what seemed like a very long time,
construction finally began on the new
FIRST HUGE SETBACK!
The building was NOT where Dandy had
said it would be, but instead, between
existing buildings in the middle of the
This alone eliminated the possibility
of an adjoining theatre.
In spite of this, everyone looked forward
as the building slowly came to shape.
Joining Joyce, Allen and Tom as part of
the BCPA school were Revel Shaw (dance)
and - - - - - - - - - -
yet to come - - - - Applause fiasco -
dismissal demanded clip, mavredies, dandy
and bonner with clips about their demise
- and dynamic duo clip